The US Department of Energy announced that 13 major U.S. employers and eight stakeholder groups have joined the new Workplace Charging Challenge to help expand access to workplace charging stations for American workers across the country.
In a speech at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Steven Chu outlined the new initiative, which aims to expand the availability of workplace charging, increasing the convenience of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and providing drivers with more options.
“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Secretary Chu. “These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce—setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry.”
The Workplace Charging Challenge is a collaborative effort to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years. The Challenge also supports the broader efforts of the Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, announced by President Obama in March 2012, to make PEVs as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.
Joined by representatives from several of the founding partner employers, Secretary Chu also announced the first 13 employers that have signed the Workplace Charging Pledge as Partners, including: 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and Verizon. The pledge commits each partner organization to assess workforce PEV charging demands, and then develop and implement a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location.
PEVs can offer consumers significant advantages over gasoline-powered vehicles, including savings on fuel costs, added convenience, and reduced maintenance costs. Electricity is cheaper than gasoline to power a vehicle—generally equivalent to about $1 per gallon—and consumers are able to conveniently fuel up at home.
Eight stakeholder organizations also have signed the Ambassador Pledge to develop and execute plans to support and promote the workplace charging initiative, including: California PEV Collaborative, CALSTART, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Electrification Coalition, International Parking Institute, NextEnergy, Plug In America, and Rocky Mountain Institute. To support the Partners and Ambassadors who sign the pledge, DOE will provide technical assistance and establish a forum for Partners and Ambassadors to share information.
The Energy Department also released the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint, which describes PEV technology and deployment barriers, as well as steps to move forward in achieving the EV Everywhere goal.